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The Fifth Prize Meeting in 1865 and the Metford Rifle

Compared to the previous year, the Nottinghamshire Guardian gave little prominence to the Annual Prize Meeting in its edition of Friday 23rd June 1865. It reports only on the first Tuesday of shooting and gives no hint as to whether the competition continued in the following days or not.

The report covers the usual opening matches at 200, 500 and 600 yards and the aggregate of these ranges, plus the Association Prize shoots at 200 and 500 yards. There is no mention of Yeomanry Prizes, nor the File, Volley, and Skirmisher competitions and the Nottinghamshire Rifle Association Prizes and the National Rifle Association Bronze Medal.

A search of the edition for Friday 30th June found no further report of the Prize Meeting; but there were many columns devoted to "THE ELECTION RIOTS" so perhaps the report was overtaken by more dramatic events.


The fifth prize meeting of the Notts. Rifle Association was opened at the Nottingham Butts on Tuesday, when the attendance of the Volunteers and spectators was large. The weather was brilliant and hot, but with little wind, and some excellent scores were made. Prizes to the amount of £85 were competed for in the following series:

A: £20, divided into nine prizes for Enfields, entrance 2s 6d, range 200 yards, five shots, Hythe.
B: £20, for Enfields, divided into nine prizes, entrance 2s 6d, range 500 yards, five shots, Hythe position.
C: £20. For Enfields, divided into nine prizes, entrance 2s 6d, range 600 yards, five shots, Hythe position
D: £10, divided into four prizes for the four highest aggregate scores in A B and C
E: Five Association prizes amounting to £15 for highest scores with Enfield rifles, at 200 and 500 yards, five shots each, Hythe position.

Commentary on rest of report

There were 58 competitors listed in the paper and the main winners were:
A: 200 yards, Sergeant T Bloom, 18
B: 500 yards, Private Wilson, 16
C: 600 yards, Private Shepperley, 16
D: Aggregate, Private T Lambert, 16, 16, 12, total 44

Private Lambert had appeared in all three prize lists.

There was also a list of 26 names for shooting at 200 and 500 yards with scores, which presumably was for the Association prizes. No winners list is published but from the scores we can see that the leaders were:

Private Rastall, 5th RHR, 16, 17, total 33
Col-Sergt. Sollory, 6th RHR, 15, 16, total 31
Lieut. Clarke, 4th Notts, 17, 14, total 31

The name of Col-Sergt. Simkins of 1st RHR appears in the competitors' listings; but clearly he had a bad day scoring 16, 14, and 6 at 200, 500 & 600 yards for a total of 36, which included at 600 yards a miss and a shot marked as "r", possibly meaning a ricochet. In the Association prize he shot 200 yards for a score of 13 and then retired.

That the Meeting was intended to be held over three days is apparent from the announcement of battalion orders from the Robin Hood Rifles.


Head Quarters, Nottingham Castle,
Tuesday, June 13th, 1865
By Lieut-Colonel C.I. Wright.

Orders 1 to 6 omitted

No. 7. — Target Practice will take place next week as follows:–
On Monday, 19th instant, the Butts will be closed for clearing up and preparing for the meeting of the Nottinghamshire Rifle Association.

Tuesday, 20th) The Butts will be place at
Wednesday, 21st) the disposal of the above
Thursday 22nd) Association.

Friday, June 23rd, Companies Nos. 7 and 8
Saturday, June 24th, Companies Nos. 9 and 10

No.8. — There will be a Divine Service Parade at Head Quarters on Sunday, 25th instant, particulars of which will be published In next week's orders.
Signed, J. WHITE, Captain and Adjutant.

Some time after compiling the above a new article came to light about the Fifth Annual Nottinghamshire Rifle Association meeting.

This appeared in the Volunteer Service Gazette of 16th September. It includes details of all the prize winners and reveals that the Meeting did not run the full three days because of a lack of entries for the file-firing and volley-firing competitions.

There are also details of the count-back system for resolving ties and the other conditions of the matches.

Volunteer Service Gazette, 16th Sept 1865, page 663-4.


The fifth meeting of this Association was held at the Nottingham butts, on June 20 and 21. All the prizes, except the Yeomanry, were competed for in Hythe position; with long or short three-grooved Enfield rifles. Government ammunition, and a minimum pull of trigger of 6lbs.; Wimbledon targets; and two sighting shots at each range. Ties were decided: 1, by fewest misses; 2, by fewest outers; 3, by each shot separately, beginning with the last shot; 4, by score at longest range; 5, by division.


A. Five shots at 200 yards ; nine Prizes:-

Prize Marks
1.Sergeant Bloom, 8th R.H.R.18
2. " Birks, 4th Notts17
3.Surgeon Wright, R. H. R17
4.Private H. Bradley, 8th Notts.17
5.Colour-Sergeant Simkins, 1st R.H.R.16}
6.Private J. Hynes, 8th ditto16}
7. " T. Lambert, 5th ditto16
8. " T. Hodgson, ditto16
9.{ " J. T. Milnes, 1st ditto15
{ " J. Shepperley, ditto15

B. Five shots at 500 yards. Nine prizes

1.Private T. Wilson, 5th R.H.R.16
2. " T. Lambert, ditto16
3.Corporal F. Taylor, 3rd ditto16
4.Private J. Mince, 9th ditto16
5.Lieutenant G. D. A. Clark, 4th Notts16
6.Private H. Sharpe, 8th ditto15
7. " J. Hynes, 8th R.H.R.15
8.Captain F. J. Hadden, 6th ditto15
9.Private J. H. Rastall, 5th ditto15

C. Five shots at 600 yards. Nine prizes

1.Private J. Shepperley, 1st R.H.R.16
2.Captain F.J. Hadden, 6th ditto14
3.Private J. Toplis, 8th ditto14
4.Sergeant Birks, 4th Notts.13
5.Surgeon Wright, R. H. R.13
6.Private Reynolds, 7th ditto12
7.Lieutenant W. Lambert, 5th ditto12
8.Private T. Lambert, ditto12
9.Colour-Sergeant Cumberland, 10th ditto12

D. Highest aggregate scores in A, B, and C. Four prizes

1.Private T. Lambert, 5th R.H.R.44
2.Surgeon Wright, R.H.R.42
3.Private J. Toplis, 8th ditto41
4.Colour-Sergeant Cumberland, 10th ditto41

E. Five shots each at 200 and 500 yards; open to members of the Association who have paid their subscriptions for the present year. Five prizes.

1.Private J,H, Rastall, 5th R.H.R.161733
2.Colour-Sergeant Sollory, 6th ditto151631
3.Lieutenant G.D.A. Clark, 4th Notts171431
4.Lieutenant R. Evans, 1st R.H.R.161430
5.Private G.D. Webster, 9th ditto151429

F. Yeomanry. Five shots each at 80 and 120 yards, with smooth-bore Government carbines and ammunition. Four prizes.

1.Private Terry, S.N.Y.C.161026
2.Lieutenant Rawson, ditto131023
3.Corporal Bonser, ditto16622
4.Private R. Brown, ditto12921


1. Five shots each at 200 and 300 yards. Six prizes:–

1.Private Yates, 8th Stafford151631
2. " Johnson, ditto171431
3. " J. Toplis, 8th R.H.R.171330
4.Sergeant Bloom, ditto151328
5. " Birks, 4th Notts131427
6.Private T. Wilson, 5th R.H.R.131427

2. Five shots each at 500 and 600 yards. Six prizes:–

1.Col.-Sergeant Cumberland, 10th R.H.R.131629
2.Private J. Toplis, 8th ditto161228
3.Corporal Newton, 8th Lincoln161127
4.Captain Hadden, 6th R.H.R.18927
5.Private G.D. Webster, 9th ditto151126
6.Colour-Sergeant Sollory, 6th ditto141125

3. -Highest aggregate scores in Nos. 1 and 2. Three prizes:–

1.Private J. Toplis, 8th R.H.R.58
2.Colour-Sergeant Cumberland, 10th ditto53
3.Corporal Newton, 8th Lincoln52

G, file-firing, and H, volley-firing prizes did not fill, and consequently were withdrawn. It is much to be regretted that prizes offered for firing in military formation should not have been competed for, as it is the first meeting of this Association at which prizes for file-firing, volley-firing, or skirmishing have failed to attract sufficient entries.

Whilst searching the Nottinghamshire Guardian of 23rd June, we found a mention of long range shooting with a new rifle invented by Mr. Metford, who was also the creator of the Metford bullet for the Enfield rifle. We thought this might be of interest to our readers.

THE CAMBRIDGE CUP. — An important small bore prize, presented and shot for every year, has been won by Lieutenant Colonel Halford, of Leicester, who so closely followed Mr. Wyatt last year for the Queen's prize. The score made was nearly an average of centres in two days' shooting at 1,000 and 1,100 yards, 15 shots each day at each range. The weapon with which the prize was won is the invention of Mr. Metford, the inventor of the "Metford bullet" for the Enfield. The same gentleman, who is not a gunmaker, brought forward a 15lb. rifle with telescopic sights to shoot for the prize given by the National Rifle Association for the shooting at 2,000 yards, and Lieutenant Halford who shot with this weapon as well as Mr. Metford for the prize, tied with and finally beat the inventor.

Transcripts from Nottinghamshire Guardian Friday 23/06/1865 pp.1,3 and 5
and Volunteer Service Gazette 16/09/1865
British Library Newspaper Archive